For a super fun day and unbelievable views, you can ride one of the Cable Cars at Squaw Valley up to High Camp, or drive around to South Lake Tahoe, and ride the cable car at Heavenly Valley. I'll be adding some pictures from Heavenly Valley soon!
Riding the Cable Car at Squaw Valley, in Olympic Valley, CA takes you up 2,000 vertical feet to High Camp which has year round activities.
During the summer, you can swim or sit in the hot tub, roller skate, play paintball, disc golf, tennis, Zip Line, hike, or have a meal or a drink. The upper decks offer the most amazing views to have a picnic on, as viewed in one of my pictures below. In spring, or as soon as the snow melts, the wildflowers are awesome to see!!
During the winter, there is skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. The beginning slopes are accessed from High Camp, and Ski Lessons are offered for all levels. I think the views are much more spectacular in the winter time with snow on the mountains, and for me, the Cable Car ride up is a bit less intimidating with snow covering the mountains. (The unrealistic expectation that if the Cable Car fell in the winter, vs. the summer while I was riding on it, that the snow would somehow cushion the fall!)
The Olympic Museum is also up at High Camp, and can be viewed year round.
When you first start out, you have to ride an elevator up to the top floor of the Cable Car building and enter the Cable Car. For me, the trip up the mountain is easier than the trip down. I'm deathly afraid of heights, so I can't sit around the edge of the car, and I'm better off standing in the middle hanging onto a pole for dear life!
The views are incredible....when you first start off, you get an amazing view of the entire Village at Squaw Valley, the Resort at Squaw Creek, and the entire Olympic Valley.
The Cable Car holds around 120 people and is a lot bigger than it looks once you are in it. When you are going up, once you reach the top of the first mountain, it totally looks like you are going to slam into the cliff wall, but you swing over the top and start across a big valley that takes you higher up to High Camp.
Somewhere along the way, you will typically pass another Cable Car going the opposite direction, as you can see in the middle of the picture below at the top.
One thing that I did not know until recently, was that you can take your dog(s) on the Cable Car with you to go hiking up at High Camp. There were two dogs that got on the cable car back down with me, that had been up hiking, and both of them promptly laid down and slept the whole way down. (lucky!!) I kept my mind focused on them, to keep my mind off of the ride down!
One of the scary things on the trip, is that every time that you go over one of the Towers that hold the cables together, the Cable Car swings back and forth. Once you make it over the top of the first mountain, you can look back and see Lake Tahoe in the distance.
And finally, after what seemed like an eternity to me, but in reality is about a 8 minute ride to the top, you pull in at High Camp.
Once I arrived up at High Camp, I was able to go up on the upper deck of the building, and take some pictures of the Cable Cars on their way up and back from High Camp.
When it came time to go back down, I must admit, I did not want to get back on the Cable Car and I had to let one go by before I would get on. I actually contemplated hiking back down, but it was too late in the day to make it down before dark. It was definitely a little scarier on the way down. Below is a picture that I took as the Cable Car was coming in at High Camp.
The cost of the Cable Car ride for a round trip Cable Car Ride typically changes each season. There are many different options whether you choose to just ride to the top, or whether you choose to add on different activities.
Please check the Squaw Valley site below for the current prices:
As scary as the Cable Car ride for me is, I love going up to High Camp so much that I just have to do it! The views are definitely hard to beat!! Be sure and bring sunscreen though....at an Altitude of 8,200 feet, you definitely will need it!!
Below is an amazing video from Shreddy Times off of the top of a Cable Car at Lake Tahoe. The video doesn't say where, but it looks like the Squaw Valley Cable Car to me!